UPDATE: MacBook Pro gets Retina display; Airs are faster, cheaper

Jackie Dove, Macworld
12 June, 2012
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 Apple overhauled its laptop range at its WWDC event in San Francisco this morning, launching new, cheaper MacBook Air models, updating the Pro line and unveiling a 15in model with a ultra-high-definition Retina display.

Apple have dropped the 15-inch MacBook Air with the new range starting at $1,099 for the 11-inch and $1,349 for the 13-inch version. The updated MacBook Pro’s begin at $1,349 for the 13-inch, $1,999 for the 15-inch and the 15-inch Retina display MacBook Pro will cost $2,499.

The display on the new MacBook Pro has four times the number of pixels as the previous model at 220 pixels-per-inch or 5,184,000 pixels. It’s 15.4in across, but its pixel density is 2880 x 1800.

Despite its glossy screen, it has a 178-degree wide viewing angle, has 75 percent less reflection and 29 percent higher contrast than the previous generation, Apple says.

The laptop has a 2.3GHz quad-core i7 processor with 8GB of RAM, a GeForce Gt 650M with 1GB of VRAM, 256GB of flash storage and up to 16GB of 1600MHz RAM.

The new Pro weighs 2.02kg, heavier than an Air, but similar to the 13in MacBook Pros. Like the new Air, it has no optical drive. Closed, it’s about as thick as the base of the old MacBook Pro but about as thin as an Air, at 1.8cm. Unlike the current wedge-shape of the MacBook Air, this laptop has a uniform thickness.

As an all-SSD model, the new MacBook Pro has up to seven hours of battery life and 30 days of standby and the battery itself takes up most of the interior. Built around flash storage, users can now configure their models at up to 768GB of internal flash storage. It also features the fastest graphics on a Mac laptop – Nvidia GeForce GT 650M, Kepler.

The laptop also has 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0. a FaceTime HD camera and dual mics using beam-forming technology. There’s the obligatory glass Multi-Touch trackpad and backlit keyboard.

It features an SD card, HDMI out, USB3/USB2 ports on either side, two Thunderbolt ports and a headphone port. Apple’s making some adapters – Thunderbolt to FireWire 800 and Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet. The new MacBook Pro also ships with a new, thinner MagSafe 2 power port.

It’s environmentally friendly as well, with an Energy Star 5.2 rating, and is arsenic-free, BFR-free and PVC-free. It is also highly recyclable and has mercury-free glass.

The 13in MacBook Pro is available with a 2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of memory and 500GB hard drive starting at a US price of US$1199 (Australian pricing to be confirmed) and with a 2.9 GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of memory and a 750GB hard drive starting at US$1499.

The 15in MacBook Pro is available with a 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, 4GB of memory, Intel HD Graphics 4000 and Nvidia GeForce GT 650M graphics and a 500GB hard drive starting at US$1799; and with a 2.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of memory, Intel HD Graphics 4000 and Nvidia GeForce GT 650M graphics and a 750GB hard drive starting at US$2199.

Configure-to-order options include faster quad-core processors up to 2.7GHz, additional hard drive capacity up to 1TB, up to 8GB of memory and solid state storage up to 512GB.

Apple’s MacBook Pro release came as the company also updated its MacBook Air lineup, with new processors and USB 3.0 integration.

The new Airs run on Intel’s Ivy Bridge processor – a Core i5 chip in the standard configurations with a Core i7 processor available as a build-to-order option. The updated laptops ship with 4GB of memory, but you can expand that to 8GB.

The updated MacBook Airs now come with USB 3.0 in addition to USB 2. A port on each side incorporates both USB 3 and USB 2 so you don’t have to think about which port to plug into; users can plug into either of the two USB ports included in the MacBook Air, according to Apple senior vice president of worldwide product marketing Phil Schiller.

The MacBook Air’s FaceTime camera is updated to match the MacBook Pro. FaceTime HD will have a 720p camera.

The 11-inch MacBook Air features a 1.7GHz dual-core i5 processor and an integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000 graphics processor.

It comes in a 64GB configuration for US$999 (US pricing) and a 128GB configuration for US$1099 – that’s US$100 less than Apple charged on the previous 11in models. The 13in MacBook Airs got a US$100 price cut, too: The 128GB model costs US$1199 while the 256GB version costs US$1499. Those 13in laptops feature a 1.8GHz dual-core i5 processor and 4GB of memory.

Build-to-order options for the MacBook Air include a 2.0 GHz Intel Core i7 processor, up to 8GB of 1600 MHz DDR3 onboard memory and up to 512GB flash storage.

The latest MacBooks ship immediately.

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